Sunday, January 30, 2011

Language Development

I've been meaning to blog about Cara's English language development for awhile. I've read other people's blogs and often wondered about the language development of other children from China. Cara has been home for 100 days today, so it seems like a good time to talk about her language development. Let me give a little bit of background information first. I have half my doctorate completed in language acquisition/ELL, so Cara has been exposed to sheltered English strategies since the first day we've had her. Her paperwork also stated that her language skills are excellent, which is true. I think if a child has an aptitude for language, a second language comes more easily. We started off with nursery rhymes, songs, and finger plays (in China) for two purposes: bonding and language acquisition. We have done tons of acting out situations, getting up and showing things to her, and talking her through situations. We read simple picture books with a lot of pointing out things in illustrations and asking "why" questions about what we are reading. We have never used flash cards.

Right now Cara uses 6 to 7 word sentences and is able to explain herself pretty clearly. She understands just about 100% of what we tell her, but we do use a lot of gesturing and picture clues if we need to. She still gets frustrated sometimes and starts to have a meltdown, but we say, "Use your words, show us what you mean." And she can usually pull herself out of it and use words or gestures to show us what she means. She is starting to sing songs she hears on the radio, which is quite funny. Katy Perry and Rhiannna seem to be her favorites! ;)

Other news: A and her BF had their yearbook dance Saturday night. The theme was 70's and 80's, so they wore Muppets shirts.
Tonight is WSU vs. UW in basketball aka Apple Cup on the hardwood. Cara is wearing her WSU pj's in honor of the game. Here she is just after taking her bath. Go Cougs!


  1. Glad she is doing so well. Blessings

  2. We have been home three days. I took my youngest daughter to school today and it is just me and our new 6 year old. Language is a concern so reading your blog this morning is encouraging. I didn't know where to start, now I do :) thanks for your post.

  3. Our son was quick to pick up English-the only Chinese word he would use after meeting us was the word to go to the bathroom, and within a week he replaced it with POT!!! (at the top of his lungs). We played a lot of games with him, too, but just because he was 4-1/2 and it was the way to communicate across barriers. Sounds like Cara is doing great!